Lesson 4 - RW, Culture - ECOLOGY - Page1

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It is well known that the earth's temperature has risen. But scientists do not agree whether global warming is a serious threat. Here are the openings of three interviews with scientists. These interviews were conducted by FRONTLINE/NOVA producer Jon Palfreman. [(http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/warming/debate/)]

Read the texts and answer the questions below them.

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Interview with Henry Jacoby

What makes the issue of global warming a significant one, in your view?

We don't really know how serious it is yet. But the potential is that it might be quite serious. That is, the change in climate, temperature, and rainfall...the potential for changes in storminess, extreme events like droughts and floods and the like...the potential over the century is substantial. We don't know, but the potential is there. And since we're building up this stock of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and they don't go away fast, it makes a big difference when you start to deal with it. It's a substantial long-term social problem, in my opinion.

Interview with Richard C. J. Somerville

What do you say to people, in broad terms, when you are asked the questions: Is the climate changing? Should I be concerned??

I would say yes. And "concerned" is a good word. Not alarmed, and not nonchalant. So far as we know, this is a phenomenon with a long time scale. On the other hand, we have to keep in mind that there have been surprises in the past. The ozone hole is a wonderful example. There was a theory that ozone would be slowly depleted, but the discovery that half the ozone over the Antarctic atmosphere disappeared every southern spring, that was a huge surprise. And there's a lot of recent evidence that the climate system is capable of behaving like a switch rather than a dial, and producing surprises.

1. Why is global warming an important problem according to Jacoby?

Because it may have serious long-term effects.

Because we know very little about it.

Because it is very serious.

2. Somerville claims that

we should worry about the changes in the climate.

we should be afraid of the changes in the climate.

we shouldn’t care about the changes in the climate.

3. According to Somerville, the changes in the climate

are always slow and gradual.

are easy to describe earlier.

may be completely unexpected.

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